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What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

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What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by WendyL on Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:09 am

Question for any/all on this forum: The Federal government is changing the rules about how antibiotics can be sold in Canada. In short, there will be no more "over the counter" sales of any veterinary antibiotic except for ionophores. The regulatory component of changes to antibiotic access have been posted on Canada Gazette I (http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2016/2016-07-02/html/reg2-eng.php.)

However, a significant non-regulatory change that is happening is that all antibiotics will be put on the federal prescription drug list. Once this change comes into effect (proposed for fall 2017), this means that veterinary antibiotics can only be purchased if you have a prescription from a veterinarian in hand. And it also means you can only get the antibiotics from a vet clinic or a pharmacy as these are the only places that are allowed to dispense prescription veterinary drugs. No more buying tetracycline, erythromycin or sulfa drugs off the shelf at your local aquarium supply store.

These changes are being made primarily to increase oversight of antibiotics used in agriculture, but it will end up impacting non-agriculture animals as well.

In you opinion, how will these changes impact you and the Canadian aquarium industry?

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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by Fores41 on Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:47 pm

This all depends how it will affect me, as I try not to use those types of medicine as I usually do not have good results. It does remove a tool from me though if a fish does get sick and I am not happy about that.
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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by CAAIndie on Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:23 pm

I think a good place to look for its effects are in Quebec, where I believe many antibiotics are already restricted (one of our members can correct me if I'm wrong).

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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by alexmtl on Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:08 pm

WendyL wrote:Question for any/all on this forum: The Federal government is changing the rules about how antibiotics can be sold in Canada. In short, there will be no more "over the counter" sales of any veterinary antibiotic except for ionophores. The regulatory component of changes to antibiotic access have been posted on Canada Gazette I (http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2016/2016-07-02/html/reg2-eng.php.)

However, a significant non-regulatory change that is happening is that all antibiotics will be put on the federal prescription drug list. Once this change comes into effect (proposed for fall 2017), this means that veterinary antibiotics can only be purchased if you have a prescription from a veterinarian in hand. And it also means you can only get the antibiotics from a vet clinic or a pharmacy as these are the only places that are allowed to dispense prescription veterinary drugs. No more buying tetracycline, erythromycin or sulfa drugs off the shelf at your local aquarium supply store.

Interesting. I have not read the change as having an effect on the aquarium trade in Canada. I understand the reason why this is happening in food chain livestock and veterinary trade, in fact I see a positive not only in reducing resistance but also in ensuring quality in the available drugs and reduction of abuse (on the animal). This began a few years ago with FDA US veterinary legislation, and these drugs are still available in the US aquarium trade.

How does this assume that the LFS on-the-shelf meds and aquarium trade in Canada will be negatively impacted ??
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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by WendyL on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:33 am

CAAIndie wrote:I think a good place to look for its effects are in Quebec, where I believe many antibiotics are already restricted (one of our members can correct me if I'm wrong).

I would be interested from hearing from people in Quebec, as that province has required prescriptions for veterinary antibiotics for decades. I don't know that it applies to absolutely everything though - does anyone know if if you can get aquarium antibiotics off the shelf at pet stores in that province?

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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by WendyL on Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:46 am

alexmtl wrote: Interesting. I have not read the change as having an effect on the aquarium trade in Canada. I understand the reason why this is happening in food chain livestock and veterinary trade, in fact I see a positive not only in reducing resistance but also in ensuring quality in the available drugs and reduction of abuse (on the animal). This began a few years ago with FDA US veterinary legislation, and these drugs are still available in the US aquarium trade.

How does this assume that the LFS on-the-shelf meds and aquarium trade in Canada will be negatively impacted ??

This is something that most people don't realize - by moving current over-the-counter antibiotics to the federal prescription drug list, this affects ALL species and ALL routes of administration. The intent is as you have stated, is to increase oversight and ultimately reduce antibiotic use in the food chain and livestock industry. However, there will be unintended consequences because Federal legislation/regulation does not allow differentiation between species and route of administration. So fur, feather and fin (and insects, for that matter) are all impacted.

Apiculture is one of these unintended consequences. The industry uses over-the-counter tetracycline to treat foul brood. There are very few vets in Canada with knowledge of "bee medicine" - certainly not enough to be able to deal with all the commercial production, never mind hobbyists.

The US veterinary feed directive came into effect January 1, 2017. Like Canada, US livestock/poultry producers will no longer be able to use over-the-counter antibiotics in animal feed. Instead, all medicated animal feed can only be sold under a "veterinary authorization" (which is essentially a prescription). The major difference between the US feed directive and the upcoming change in Canada is that, in the US, their changes only apply to antibiotics in feeds - it has no impact on any other over-the-counter availability or use.

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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by alexmtl on Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:17 pm

In answer to your question, what would I do without antibiotics to treat fish disease ?

My response is status quo. Water changes and isolation tank and no treatment with medications. So this legislation/initiative will not affect my practice in the hobby. I have not used antibiotics in years.

Many years ago physicians prescribed antibiotics for many ailments based upon clinical presentation and without diagnostic testing and secondary confirmation. Now we know that only certain antibiotics will have affect on specific bacterial diseases and even then, only a percentage of success when refractory to the initial treatment. A next escalation of treatment is prescribed according to guidelines based upon 1. expert opinion and 2. a well versed body of efficacy in clinical trials and lesserly 3. clinical presentation. There are many diagnostic tools available to confirm presence of bacterial or fungal infection and more specific tests to confirm even susceptibility to treatment. Thus there is knowledge based research and experience in treatment success.

There is significant controversy regarding the levels of antibiotics and hormones in our water reservoirs. The sources are considered to be from human use (ie birth control pills), feed animals, agricultural use and in almost insignificant amount from hobbyists. Yet even a small source of these chemicals can produce untoward effects in susceptible populations. This may be water life, creatures consuming the water and susceptible humans, example pregnant women. There is evidence that male sperm can be affected and thus teratogenic effect on the developing egg.

I have never been able to confirm the fish disease that I was treating. I looked at pictures from an encyclopedia and said, yes it must be this because it looks like the photograph. There is no diagnostic test to confirm what pathogen is causing the ailment in the fish and even if I were to send a biopsy out I would get numerous contaminants. I have a digitial microscope, but do not have a facility to stain or accentuate the bacteria properly for identification. I do have access to scientific periodicals but I am ill equipped to really perform critical review of the information. Even the antibiotic testing that was done, is not vast and certainly not in fish species that have the same physiology and what I am hoping to treat. Even the dosing of the medication is arbitrary. I do not have access to an ichthyology nor pathology department. For these reasons I do not use antibiotics; they are broad spectrum in effect, based upon generalities and I do not know what I am really treating.
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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by GaryE on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:36 pm

I think it could improve the hobby. There would be a sales spike in snake oil herbal meds, but if you are going to fall for that, there's no stopping you.
Antibiotics aren't legally sold in stores in Quebec, and haven't been for ages. When the laws changed, we though it would be a fish apocolypse. And it wasn't.

Rates of fish death from disease seemed (anecdotally) to stay about the same.

I would wager 95% of fish antibiotics are misused. People don't use them for long enough, they don't target infections accurately, they buy expired meds. I saw fewer deaths after I stopped counting on meds to save me from my mistakes (or really, to save my fish).

Antibiotics are tested, tried and true, if you know what you are fighting. I consider myself a serious, advanced sort of aquarist, but I don't have a lab to test for what I need to choose correctly. Throwing broad spectrum antibiotics at diseases rarely works anyway.

So I support this reform. Why waste a valuable resource like antibiotics?

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Re: What would you do without antibiotics to treat fish disease?

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:17 am

Probably would not effect me in any way. Says the guy who has never had to use any antibiotics on his fish. Knocking on a solid piece of wood as he says it.

The day may come that I am faced with some kind of bacterial infection in one of my Koi that deems it necessary. If that is the case and I had to resort to a tetracycline injection or whatever then off to the vet I would go.

With that in mind regular fish keeping practices make the unnecessary use of such products a non starter for me. Just the same good information if this does happen.

Steve
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